Public Health England

'A ban on using e-cigarettes in public places could be damaging, as it may put off smokers from using e-cigarettes to help them quit,' says Rosanna O'Connor from Public Health England.

Those are the words all vapers have been waiting to hear for a long time. We've known it all along - most of us are, after all ex-smokers and we are fully aware how difficult it is to give up in the first place. Not to even mention trying to stick to it! 

The comments from Public Health England (PHE) come after a medic at the British Medical Association's annual meeting in Belfast called for restrictions on places where e-cigarettes can be used in public.

Rosanna O'Connor, director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco at PHE, said: "Vaping is not the same as smoking, second-hand smoke is harmful to health but there is no evidence that e-cigarette vapour carries the same harms.

"In fact a ban on using e-cigarettes in public places could be damaging, as it may put off smokers from using e-cigarettes to help them quit. "

It took Dr Iain Kennedy, a consultant in public health, from Glasgow, called for restrictions on places where e-cigarettes can be used in public. According to him, even though vaping seems to be healthier than smoking, there is still not enough research on the long-term effects of using ecigs. 

"It looks like they are probably safe in short-term use. We don't have any evidence on long-term use because they are relatively new products.

"We always ask 'are e-cigarettes safer than cigarettes?' But I don't think taking the most harmful manmade product as the yardstick for safety is a good idea.

"It is a precautionary principle - until we do the studies and have a better idea of what the risks may or may not be, we should restrict their use in public places."

Dr Iain Kennedy also called for a ban on the use of the diacetyl - a chemical, often added to e-liquids to give them the buttery flavour. However, the vaping industry has been aware of the possible harm caused by inhaling diacetyl, therefore most of the e-juices available in stores are diacetyl-free anyway. 

His proposals were carried as a reference, which means they were noted but not made into official BMA policy.

Source: The Independent